Pharmacists: Jobs, Career, Salary and Education Information

Among the available health care professionals, pharmacists are easily the ones that the average person can approach and get the much-needed medical attention without having to be put through many hassles, like waiting in line or booking an appointment. Qualified and professional pharmacists have their pharmaceutical license to show, and this puts them in a position where you can run to them and seek medical advice, counselling, or get a prescription for any bodily issue you might be experiencing at any given time.

Pharmacists: Jobs, Career, Salary and Education Information

Pharmacists are not exactly your doctor’s so you should always know where they draw the line when you are seeking their assistance. The best way to utilize the industry of a pharmacist is when you have been directed by your physician to meet them for your drugs needs. Still, because they are easily accessible and closer to home for us, they can be the first people we meet for advice before booking an appointment with the doctor.

Becoming a pharmacist, for any person, is a very noble thing to do. Not only do you get the chance to contribute meaningfully to society by helping to produce drugs that can cure people of their illnesses. But you also set yourself up for banking home a huge paycheck as mere gratitude for your effort in making the world a better, healthy place. The importance of pharmacists to society is peculiar and unique, which is why in this article, we will be giving you a low down the pharmacy discipline, including everything you need to know if you are interested in enrolling your child or ward in the program, or perhaps you want to get into it yourself.

Who Is A Pharmacist?

A pharmacist is a medical practitioner whose speciality covers the knowledge on how to make, use, store, and distribute drugs or medicine across to individuals or outlets that care for the sick. Typically, the pharmacist can also proffer useful guidance on drug usage to people and let them know about the pros and cons of using such drugs. Although they do not run diagnostics, or treat people much like the regular medical doctors would normally do, pharmacists are qualified and can take your prescriptions and recommend the appropriate medicine or drug for your medical issue at any given point.

What Do Pharmacists Do?

As hinted earlier in this article, a qualified pharmacist can decide on the best drugs to give to patients or a sick person based on a doctors prescription, and they can also listen to such sick persons like guidance to know what could be wrong with them based on their analysis of the symptoms. Additionally, pharmacists go as far as conducting testings and research on new drugs, or existing ones that might need a little tweaking in the experiment. Also, in the aspect involving a patient who has taken an overdose, the pharmacist is the go-to guy for correcting such OD and suggests the necessary medicine to take to counteract the side effects of such outcome.

What Types Of Pharmacists Do We Have?

The pharmaceutical practice has evolved over the years and through these times, the world has seen a significant increase in the different types or kinds of pharmacists that are officially practised in society. However, no matter the nature or type of pharmacist we talk about, one thing is unchanging about all of them and that is the fact that they all are driven by the ultimate purpose of ensuring a better, healthy, and disease-free life for everyone.

1.     Infectious Diseases Pharmacists

Infectious diseases pharmacists are the type of pharmacists that concern themselves with curtailing, preventing, and providing treatment solutions to infectious diseases. Their jobs typically range from assisting the health sector in selecting, tracking, executing, and evaluating antimicrobials, and creating policies based on the obtained results on hand.

2.     Compounding Pharmacists

For these types of pharmacists, their focus is primarily directed towards deciding the best corrective or preventive medicine therapy suitable for the individual’s doctor’s prescription. What this type of pharmacist does is simple compound drugs – or bringing together different medicines – that can work synergically to cure or prevent sickness in any person. Interestingly too, compounding pharmacists are also well positioned to offer important health advice to patients and are equally a good link to other health care providers.

3.     Ambulatory Care Pharmacists

This set of pharmacists is limited to performing tasks that are directly linked to ambulatory patients, that is outpatients or patients who can walk about rather than staying bedridden. Ambulatory care pharmacists generally take care of such patients’ medication needs that suit the nature of their mobility.

4.     Academic Pharmacists

Academic pharmacists are the types of pharmacists that are mostly found in colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, where they stay resigned to performing responsibilities such as the publishing of pharmaceutical articles, conducting researches, and nurturing and training future pharmacists. Academic pharmacists are not always resigned to performing institutional functions as they can sometimes decide to delve into other types such as community or ambulatory pharmacists or open up their outlet, and this is because they have the license to do such.

5.     Community Pharmacists

Much as the name sounds, the community pharmacist is one bound within the community and performs such community-related tasks as offering counselling to patients, or reading and deciding the best medication for a patient’s doctor’s prescription et cetera. Community pharmacists are also known to perform other duties such as managing and coordinating the community’s med inventory, and supervision of other members of the medical staff – like the lab technicians.

6.     Hospital Staff Pharmacists

Hospital staff pharmacists are among the quite popular ones, and their duties generally revolve around taking care of the hospital’s drugs and medical needs in terms of acquisition, storage, and distribution. This type also provides important clinical functions which might include developing drug-related policies, educating and guiding medical doctors as regards top pick drugs preferred for certain conditions, ensuring supplies and circulation of drugs across all relevant departments, and also counselling patients and offering analytic therapies.

7.     Hospice Pharmacists

These are resided by the hospice, which is a settlement for pilgrims, monks or nuns, or perhaps internally displaced persons. Hospice pharmacists try to offer the same functions as would any regular type of pharmacist manages, only they are down-to-earth, compassionate, and morally driven. They work hand in hand with other health care professionals such as nurses, medical doctors, and other social workers to make sure the health needs of the hospice population are well met.

What Education Does One Need To Become A Pharmacist?

To become a qualified pharmacist, the prospect or student must complete a higher education where they get a degree that is equivalent to a bachelor’s before going further from there. Typically, the duration of a pharmaceutical education may take between five to eight years, consisting of years it takes to get a clinical experience, complete a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.), and obtain a license. There are a lot of universities offering accreditation for pharmaceutical studies, and when enrolled in such schools, students can expect to learn foundational courses in pharmaceutical practices – including those from biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry. Prospects are also made to study elective courses in English, Economics, and maths among others. The student goes through a series, of course, learning processes over the years of course duration and must have effectively learned and mastered the art of drug dosage, patient consultancy and management, pharmacy laws, and pharmacotherapy before they are found worthy of earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Getting A License For Pharmaceutical Practice

Spending all those years in higher institutions and getting a pharmacy degree is not just enough for anyone to have the right to practice being a pharmacist, and this is because they must go as far as obtaining a license for such a purpose. For this to happen, there is usually a set of licensure exams, peculiar to your region or state, that you as a prospect must sit to write and pass. Areas you can expect to be tried on might include but are not limited to, courses on pharmacotherapy. A good performance on such a test and your ability to meet other relevant requirements put you on course to getting your license legitimated and approved for public or private usages.

Jobs And Career Trajectories Of A Pharmacist

All pharmacists do important jobs of ensuring that disease is prevented, or treated, and the individual regains their full health. As earlier mentioned, pharmacists can work in different places and settings which is why we have different types such as community pharmacists, hospice, ambulatory, or academic pharmacists, and so on. These may come in as some popular types of pharmacists, but they are also jobs and career trajectories an individual pharmacist can decide to embark on. So, whether a pharmacist has chosen a community role, or perhaps that ambulatory, the key thing is that they are tasked daily to perform responsibilities such as checking, compounding, and distributing drugs and medicines, discussing and educating medical doctors about the effect of new or existing drugs and their usages, and of course listening and counselling of individuals and patients seeking professionals advice about their health conditions. They additional also function to monitor other medical personnel such as technicians and health social workers.

What Is The Salary Expectation For A Pharmacist?

Being a pharmacist is a lucrative business, and experience practitioners are known to make a lot of money from the profession. Still, how big or small the amount one makes largely depends on the usual factors such as your location, country of practice, who you work for, your skills and know-how, and the way you have been able to position and establish yourself (business-wise) as a pharmacist. Also, there are levels to being a pharmacist, and such levels can be high (like being a chief pharmacist), or low (like being a new entrant). The general rule as per working for a  government institution or a renowned private firm is the higher your level the more money you make, and the lower your level the fewer bucks you go home with. Still, on average pharmacists can earn from as low as NGN 260,000 to as high as NGN 800,000 in a month’s paycheck.

What Advantage Does Becoming A Pharmacist Have?

The pharmacist is one of the few most respected professions out there no matter where in the world you are, so there exist some really good advantages to benefit from being an expert with this discipline.

1.     You Can Earn Significantly More By Being A Pharmacist

Let’s face it, this is one of the major reasons why people do what they do or choose whatever career they decide, and luckily for us, studying pharmacy put can put you out there with a chance to earn some decent monthly income, which is way better than most jobs.

2.     Pharmacists Are Well Respected In The Society

If there is one job that offers its experts or commands a lot of dignity and respect from the people, then it is a pharmacist. Being a practising pharmacist, or any other medical professionals, tends to garner respect and appreciation from people, and this is not surprising because after all, you are contributing meaningfully to people’s lives by helping them stay healthier by fighting germs and curing their illnesses.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Becoming A Pharmacist?

As it is with everything that has advantages, there are also disadvantages, and this is no different with the pharmacy profession. There are more than a few cons the student or prospect can expect to encounter here but the very basic and straightforward ones will suffice.

1.     Pursuing A Pharmacy Degree Is Expensive

Disregard all the rumours about education being free and less expensive because as a parent or guardian, putting your kids through school to study pharmacy surely means that you will have to dig deep into your pocket to make that dream a reality. The course is replete with scenarios were demanded to pay huge sums of money, from tuition to practicals to getting the needed textbooks, or doing other things like getting a license et cetera – all require a lot of money to complete.

2.     Pharmacy Requires A Longer Time Investment

Unlike the normal time or year duration required to study regular courses, studying pharmacy in the university requires relatively more time investment. Typically, getting your Doctor of Pharmacy degree, license, and other permits can take you between five and eight years to acquire.


WebMD. “What Is A Pharmacist.”

Ted Colleges. “Pharmacist Education And Career Training Information.”